Good rules with bad results…

I mentioned the other day that our little city has a whole lot of rules for owning property.  You have to keep your house in good condition, your grass has to be cut, bushes have to be trimmed and the list goes on and on.  One of the good rules is that you must keep the exterior of your house looking good (my wording is vague but the actual rule is fairly specific), which particularly applies to paint.  You can’t let the exterior of your house get all ugly.  If your house needs to be painted, the city is going to let you know and then you have a set time to remedy the situation before they fine you.

Painting one’s house can be expensive, especially here where all the houses are big, two story places.  Not to mention the fact that a lot of the homes are 80+ years old.  Many of the homes are painted clap boards, lovely.  We don’t have a lot of plastic/aluminum siding because siding diminishes historical homes.  The thing is, forcing people to paint their homes on the city schedule, not the home owner’s financial schedule has resulted in unintended consequences.

We have a lot of ugly colors besmirching our charming neighborhoods.  Most people would like to paint their houses with colors that don’t make the stomach lurch, but when forced into a large financial commitment, they have to make choices.  Ugly paint is cheaper.  It’s often a color that was mixed incorrectly and rather than letting it go to waste, it is put on sale.  Deeply discounted paint has a way of convincing people that they can live with the color… that it’s not so bad.  But it is bad.  It’s worse than bad.

In my little neighborhood we have a house that is painted the color of Pepto Bismol, after it has come back out of the stomach, holding hands with stomach acid.  We have a Tudor style home that has stucco painted sea foam green.  There are actually more than a few of those.  And right next door to me there is a house that started off being white and turned into a color that I was told by the owner, Moshe, is “gold”.  But it is not gold.  It is the color of that mustard-y looking baby feces.  But even that was too expensive because Moshe only painted the house and part of the garage.

Now, this picture fails to capture just how ugly Moshe’s house is.  It almost looks like a decent yellow.  Trust me, it’s not.  And it is also not fair that Moshe’s yellow house right next to our red house makes us look like a McDonald’s restaurant.

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